Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s staffer Mehmood Akhtar was arrested by the Delhi Police and declared ‘persona non grata’, accusing him of espionage. Akhtar, during a police interrogation, claimed that the ‘sensitive’ information was sourced from an Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) official, The Indian Express reported. The interrogation was recorded on camera on Thursday, sources in the police told IE. He was later handed over to High Commission officials. IE quoted a senior police official as saying, “On being asked about his informers and sources, Akhtar disclosed the names of other ISI agents posted in the Pakistan High Commission and the name of an official with ISRO who provided sensitive details to him.” The source informed that a minimum of 45 minutes of interrogation recording was done by Delhi Police. The video begins with Akhtar surrounded by a couple of police constables, while another constable asked his name and address, the source was reported as saying.
When the police asked him questions in Hindi he was seen to be ‘trembling’. IE reported. Both the constables held him from two sides. The other officer present offered Akhtar some water to get him to calm down. Later the constables moved away from Akhtar. A source told IE, “He was uncomfortable at first but after drinking some water he calmed down. Officers told him they already knew about his operation and were only trying to corroborate the information they had.” The sources reportedly said that Akhtar informed the Police the names of Ramzan Khan and Subhash Jangir who were also arrested the same day. He also disclosed the names of other informants and also that of the ISRO official.
Akhtar reportedly named eight Pakistan High commission officials and said that the were trained by the ISI. Senior Pak High Commission officials arrived at the Delhi Police’s Inter-State Cell office in Chanakyapuri. Akhtar was also reportedly questioned for some time in front of Pakistan officials. Meanwhile, Pak High Commission denied the allegations and, in a response, declared an Indian official at the High Commission, Surjeet Singh, in Islamabad, as ‘persona non grata’.